It requires dollops of discipline and copious amounts of creativity.
But link bait works.
And if you want to succeed in a highly competitive internet marketplace like the one we have right now, you need every advantage you can muster.
We talk a lot about different link bait strategies and techniques on this blog, but it’s impossible to be successful at building links if you don’t have the link building fundamentals in place.
At the foundation of every successful strategy is a focus on content.
More specifically, there’s an emphasis on link bait content that attracts inbound links and leads to a surge in search rankings, traffic, and credibility.
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What the Heck is Link Bait?
You’ve probably heard the term before, but do you know what link bait is? And, how does link bait work?
As you can infer from the name, it’s content that’s designed to attract links.
Think of yourself like a deep-sea fisherman tossing out big hooks affixed with chunks of bloody meat. These meat-laced barbs attract sharks and other big fish so that you can reel them in.
The more hooks – and the better the bait – the more fish you can bring on board.
In the world of SEO and marketing, content is your link bait.
The more high-quality content you have – also known as link bait – the more authoritative backlinks you’ll attract.
Here are three of the most common types of successful link bait:
- We’re all familiar with listicles. (You’re reading one right now!) They’re commonly used by marketers in all industries and niches – and they work! The number in a listicle headline is comforting, reassuring, and direct. It sets a clear expectation and promises an easily digestible piece of content that will deliver tangible value.
- People love visual content and they love data. Infographics fuse the two together for a compelling piece of content that’s highly informative and shareworthy. They’re also a natural fit for social media, which makes them even more versatile.
- Over the past decade, there’s been a swift and significant shift towards video as a digital content medium. Fewer people are taking the time to read long-form content, while millions are flocking to snackable video content.
Other examples of link bait include guides, ebooks, interactive content (like calculators), quizzes, and roundup posts.
Depending on your industry and/or desired outcomes, certain types of link bait may work better for your link building efforts than others.
But regardless of whether it’s a listicle or an interactive calculator, a successful piece of link bait starts with strategic content creation.
Creative Link Bait Examples
Below are 7 best link bait strategies that you should consider for your blog/YouTube account if you want to increase traffic levels.
1. Repeat link bait strategies that already work
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here.
While there’s nothing wrong with trying new things, there’s something to be said for studying what’s already working and rolling with it.
As you do your research, you’ll find that people tend to share content that:
- Supports the beliefs they already hold
- Makes them feel a powerful emotion, like anger, happiness, awe, etc.
- Is relevant to what’s currently happening in their lives.
- Offers practical value they can apply immediately.
- Has already been shared by a ton of other people.
There are plenty of ways to study digital content as a whole, but try drilling down to what type of link bait is working in your specific niche.
If you’re a personal injury lawyer specializing in car accidents, find out what other car accident lawyers are already posting.
Which articles get shared the most?
Which types of content populate the top Google search results?
Which piece of link bait has the most backlinks?
All you have to do is find what’s working and create content that’s better.
If someone has a blog post titled 8 Ways Auto Insurance Companies Try to Rip You Off, write a post titled 44 Ways Car Insurance Companies Rip Off Drivers and include a sleek infographic in the post.
Find what’s working and make a better version.
That’s the quickest way to develop link bait content that generates a high ROI.
2. Use Ogilvy’s Headline Writing Rule
Headlines are critically important.
It doesn’t matter if it’s print or digital – they are specifically designed to attract backlinks.
Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, “On average, five-times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
This is precisely why he believed in dedicating a massive portion of the content creation process to crafting link bait headlines.
As a general rule of thumb, Ogilvy’s rule says that you should spend half of the time it takes you to develop a piece of content on the headline.
Thus, if it takes you three hours to write a blog post, you should spend 90 minutes coming up with a headline.
It’s that important.
Compelling headlines generally consist of a few common traits.
They need to communicate something shocking, unbelievable, or amazing.
Each piece of link bait should be specific and relevant.
They should contain your target keyword.
Numbers, questions, and controversial claims all work well.
However – and this is what differentiates white hat link bait from black hat clickbait – it needs to be genuine and true. Spammy headlines might earn you clicks, but they’ll rarely generate backlinks or brand trust.
3. Make a video, with links to your website.
If you are interested in creating a truly viral post that millions of people will watch, share and chat about, then you should consider doing a video of some subject related to the post that you can use to get backlinks to your website. The content need not necessarily be outstanding in order to get 100,000 views, but it should be good, to make viewers want to share it. There are many online sources to assist you in producing a video, such as makeyoutubevideo.com, kizoa.com and wondershare.com.
Before you begin producing the video, you will need to consider what SEO goals you want the video to accomplish. Several questions to think about are:
- Who is this video going to be targeted to?
- What is the tone of the video going to be? Funny? Goofy? Professional? Dramatic?
- What action do you want your viewers to take after they have watched the video? Email it to a bud? Click for more information? Visit the website it mentions?
4. Focus on link bait function, not flair
While your blog post or video needs to have good content in order to get millions of people to watch, share and gossip about it, it is not necessary to spend hours to create top-notch videos or blog content. If you focus on the presentation of your material, you will generally be more successful. A good rule of thumb is not to force a concept to fit a brand, rather let the brand fit into the concept. Some guidelines to help with this strategy are listed below, with tips for videos listed first:
- Keep it short. An optimal time frame is 15-30 seconds. Rarely are good videos longer than a minute; you should break long stories into several bite-sized movie clips.
- Format for remixing. Design a video that is simple enough to be remixed, reformatted and reworked over and over again by others.
- Do not turn it into a blatant advertisement. If a video feels like an ad, very few viewers will share it, unless it is very powerful.
- Make it shocking. Craft the listing so that the potential viewer can’t help himself, but has to go investigate. A good example is “Re-emergence of Mothman in Virginia!”
- Use creative headlines. Get the viewers thinking, “No way! That couldn’t have happened!” A great title would be something like “Kate Middleton Loses Prince George at State Dinner!!”
And for blogs:
- Be engaging. Your audience needs to feel that you are speaking to them. Frequent use of important words such as “you” and “your” will help your readers feel unique and keep them engaged. If your audience is engaged and enjoys the material you have posted, the chances of them clicking on the links you have provided are much higher than otherwise.
- Be emotional. No, this does not mean be sentimental. It means to consider how you feel in the moments just before you take action. What are you thinking? Do you feel an emotion such as desire, fear or hope? People think alike, so the majority of your readers probably feel the same way that you do. The best way to use this strategy is to focus on catchy, emotionally charged titles for your articles. Here’s an example:
(Standard)—How To Make An Interesting Video.
(Emotionally charged)—The Art Of Cinematography: Making A Movie That Will Captivate Your Audience
- Come up with and answer questions. When writing a post, it is often very powerful if you explore the possible “what-ifs” that will most likely cross the minds of your readers. If you address these possible questions in your post, this will help make your work transparent, as well as prevent your readers from feeling sledge hammered by the one-way opinions of your rival bloggers.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition. Your readers will be viewing your blog post for only a few minutes, so you want to make sure that they come away with the most important information. To do this, tell the reader what the article is about at the beginning and summarize the article at the end. Reiterating key points throughout the material is also helpful.
5. Get onto the “Most Viewed” page
Once your post or video is ready to go, it’s time to get it into the most viewed section. But how? It’s easy. Four quick solutions are listed below:
- Forums. Starting new threads on relevant forums and embedding your video there is helpful. You can jumpstart conversations posting a comment yourself and asking friends to comment as well.
- Facebook. If you have a moderately large presence on Facebook, sharing a video/blog post can have a powerful impact.
- Blogs. Reach out to individuals who operate relevant blogs and get them to post your embedded video on their site. They will probably charge you a small fee, but the results are likely to be worth it in the long run.
- Friends. Ensure that everybody you know watches the video. Try to get them to email it to friends, or to at the very least share it on Facebook.
6. Title/thumbnail optimization
The title and thumbnail are the best way to advertise your video or post. Titles can be changed an unlimited number of times, so sometimes it is wise to use a catchy title for the first several days, and then change it to something else once the views are up. Trendy titles include phrases such as “exclusive”, “behind the scenes” and “leaked video!”
7. Comments: Capitalize On Them.
A controversy is an excellent way to maximize the number of views for your material. If a controversy erupts in the comments section, be sure to capitalize on it to the fullest extent. Get the main antagonist to explain what his problem is and show him how he is wrong. A civil discussion can engage viewers and drive traffic back to your website.
Need more link bait tactics?
If you need more links or more tactics, take a look at our complete list of link building strategies.
Get in touch with us today about link building for SEO.
Growing your referring domains through quality link building is what we do.
If you want to create and promote your link bait on your own, we suggest reviewing our SEO Link Building Guide.